DEAR ABBY: Please help me -- I am in pieces. My sister is dying of cancer. She has shut me out of her life and has become very hostile toward me. This is breaking my heart, and I don't know how to deal with it. I have done nothing to offend her, and I don't understand why she is acting this way.
I understand that my sister is in pain and afraid, but I need her in my life because I love her. What can I do? -- CARING SISTER IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR CARING SISTER: I'm sorry about the sad prognosis your sister received. Many years ago, a doctor named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five distinct emotional stages that a dying person may go through after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
However, people do not necessarily pass through all of these stages. Sometimes they get "stuck" -- and it appears your sister hasn't made it past the second stage. Spiritual and/or psychological counseling might help her. But if she's unwilling to accept it, all you can do is let her know how much you love her, need her and will always miss her.
P.S. A grief support group might be very helpful for you, so check with the American Cancer Society. It can be reached by calling (800) 227-2345 or visiting � HYPERLINK "http://www.cancer.org" ��www.cancer.org�.